New music Monday: Phoenix is the essence of French pop

Phoenix @wearephoenix

Phoenix @wearephoenix

Zoe Alvarez, Staff writer

Discovering new music is a great way to expand your taste in music. Let me introduce you to Phoenix, an alternative, indie-pop, four-piece band from Versailles, France.

The band consists of Thomas Mars (lead vocalist, percussion) Laurent Brancowltz (guitarist, backing vocals, keyboardist,) Deck d’Arcy (bassist, keyboardist, backing vocals,) and Christian Mazzalai (guitarist, backing vocals.)

Phoenix @wearephoenix

I began listening to this band in the spring of my freshman year. I heard their songs “Lisztomania” and “1901” and completely fell in love with them. They soon became part of my spring playlist.

The summer before my sophomore year, my family and I took a road trip to Florida. It was that summer that their most recent album “Ti Amo” came out. Their hit song “J-Boy” was always on the radio.

Come mid-July, I began to listen to the whole album. I was obsessed with it. I loved every song and soon enough knew all the lyrics.

In January of my sophomore year, I also began to listen to their album “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.” I already enjoyed “1901” and “Lisztomania” so already this album was enticing. I also liked “Countdown,” “Girlfriend,” and more. My liking of this band was gradual but nonetheless great.


These are some of my favorite songs:

  1. 1901
  2. Lisztomania
  3. Countdown
  4. Girlfriend
  5. Armistice
  6. Lasso
  7. J-Boy
  8. Tuttifrutti
  9. Lovelife
  10. Role Model
  11. Telefono

Phoenix is a band that can be described as pop, pop rock, indie pop, alternative, new wave, and synth-pop. I would listen to this band a lot the January of my sophomore year.

I remember the day when it was snowing and raining during STAAR testing. I went to school half day which meant I stayed at VMT Magnet school.

I can remember the day so vividly when I listen to the songs “Countdown,” “Girlfriend,” and “Armistice.” It gives me good memories. I so dearly loved life during that time. It gives me happiness when I remember those wonderful times.


Phoenix is a band with a very distinct sound. They give us some pop, a splash of synth, and some delightful alternative.

I absolutely love their sound. Phoenix gives us listeners a great mixture of vocals, instrumental, and synth.

To start us off, we have their guitar. I find that the guitar in Phoenix is quite unique. It gives a soft poppish sound but simultaneously remains alternative.

In “Lisztomania” we are given an example of their soft guitar sound. The presence is very minimal but is finally made known in the chorus.

“1901” gives us a gorgeous guitar intro. I adore the intro to this song. It’s also played throughout the song. The soft guitar sound (which can also be considered higher in terms of pitch) is so distinctive. It’s almost like their trademark sound.

Their song “Lasso” also gives us a very brief but nonetheless fantastic guitar intro. It’s a blend of pop, alternative, and new wave. The chorus also has a guitar which blends so perfectly with every other instrument and creates a wonderful sound.

There is also a guitar solo in the bridge. It gives off that soft alternative sound. It’s a higher sound than most bands have. “Rome” provides such an easy going feel to their guitar. It helps set the mood of the song, whether through intensity or tranquility.


“Countdown” is a song that has so many lovely chords. It provides a sense of calmness, perfect those who need music to unwind. “Girlfriend” is the same concept. It’s one of the reasons why I love those two songs.

The sound of the soft, higher pitched, guitar gives off a peaceful vibe. So peaceful, that I think of blossom pink shades when I listen to these songs.

“Armistice” also has a soft guitar sound in the chorus. All these songs perfectly set the calm peaceful tone for their album “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.”

To add on to their guitar, we have the drums. The drums in Phoenix are unique in a sense that they do not overpower in their songs. They share the same soft quality that the guitar has.

“J-Boy” is a song where the drums so perfectly compliment the sound as a whole. It isn’t too overbearing but it would certainly be missed if it wasn’t there. It adds on to the soft poppish sound.

“Lisztomania” gives us a catchy rhythm that stays throughout the majority of the song. I always find myself tapping along to the beat. “1901” shares the same quality.

Fior di Latte” is a great example of how the drums can be very prevalent but still remain soft and quiet. “Lovelife” is a game between the drums and synth. I find it so musically clever and pleasant for the hearing.


Something I’ve always found so attractive about Phoenix is their synth. It makes their sound, their sound.

“1901” truly gives the listeners a taste of synth. With its strong intro and dynamic chorus, it’s no wonder they are considered synth-pop and new wave.

“Telefono” is a true masterpiece when it comes to synth. It complements the song well. It gives that French pop vibe.

Via Vento” gives us a wonderful sound of synth. The synth takes a spin on vocals and guitar. It’s what makes the song so relaxing. One can think of dim lighting and relaxation.

“Lovelife” is my absolute favorite when it comes to synth. It reminds me of a stranger thing with its synth, walking the streets of Paris, lots of light shades of blue, pink neon lights, and nice clean dressy clothing.

Goodbye Soleil” gives us a taste of synth in a romantic way. It almost sounds too good to be true. It truly changes the way romance and synth work sound together. The album “Ti Amo” really sets the standards high when it comes to synth.

Ti Amo, released the summer of 2017. @wearephoenix

Always important to a band, whether to their sound or their uniqueness, are the vocals. I love the vocals in Phoenix.

Thomas Mars has such a distinct voice. Hear him sing and it’ll be known that it’s Phoenix. His voice gives off a soft, French pop, alternative feel.

Every time I hear a love song I can picture him singing to the girl he loves in the streets of Paris. His vocals blend so perfectly with the music and synth.

His way of singing can also be narrative. It’s like he himself is telling me about the girl he is falling in love with.

Every so often he’ll sing something in French or Italian instead of their usual English lyrics. It adds on to that French pop vibe that I so dearly love. He even sings with synth. (Telefono.) It spices up the song in ways most bands don’t.


To finish this sweet treat of a band, we have the lyrics. I always love the lyrics of the band. They show us where and how they want the band to be. Phoenix gives off a strong French pop sound along with their style of lyrics.

Their songs are about love and passion (J-Boy,) (Ti Amo,) and (Lovelife.) Phoenix portrays love in a different way than most bands. “J-Boy” is a perfect example of how they talk about love.

The overall vibe of the song is light-hearted, upbeat, and loving. Other wonderful masterpieces include “Telefono,” a song about how he’s alone and missing his love who is somewhere else in the world. “Fior di Latte” is a song about desire and wanting to be with someone.

Phoenix is a band with a tasteful sound. I recommend Phoenix to anyone lacking soft, alternative music.

Want to hear more from Phoenix? Discover their music here.

Interested in seeing them live? Catch them on tour here or see them at a music festival here.